Nat’l Library Seeks Help From Japan

The director of the National Li­brary in Phnom Penh has sent a proposal to the Japanese Embassy re­questing support for the con­struc­tion of two new reading rooms at the library’s campus near Wat Phnom, officials said Sunday.

The library currently is capable of accommodating only 60 readers at a time, but on an average day be­tween 40 and 70 students, re­sear­chers and scholars use the library’s reading facilities, library Dir­ector Khlot Vibolla said Sun­day.

The proposal sent to the Japan­ese Embassy asks for assistance in constructing two buildings that can ac­commodate 300 readers at a time and that includes areas for  vi­deo showrooms and space to ar­chive books and documents, she said.

“All types of documents and books are kept together on the same bookshelf. If we could get the new building, we would divide the books into categories which would be comfortable for both us and the readers and researchers who could be in different places doing their work,” she added.

Khlot Vibolla said she has not received a reply from the Ja­pan­ese Embassy regarding the pro­ject.

The proposal was sent late last year through the Ministry of Cul­ture and Fine Arts.

Japanese Embassy officials on Sunday said that they were unfamiliar with the National Library construction proposal but that they would check on its status.

Users of the National Library will be able to borrow items for the first time starting in July because many of the books and documents have been given code numbers.

But those wishing to borrow must first become members of the library and provide proper identity and a valid home address, Khlot Vibolla said.

Deau Davin, 22, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said at the library on Friday that if Japan were unable to assist, the Cam­bodian government should fund the construction project it­self.

Student Ratanak Both, 24, also said that the library’s upkeep should be a national priority.

“No library, no country,” she said.

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